The larval community of coral reef fishes in the Red Sea was studied in coastal and offshore sites to determine the effects of the exposure to waves and currents and the distance from the shore in structuring the larval fish community. Plankton sampling from inshore and offshore sites and the exposed and sheltered sides of the reefs resulted in the collection of 2048 larvae representing 49 different fish taxa belonging to 11 orders and 36 families of fish. The overall density of fish larvae at all sites was 1000m-3 and there was a significant difference in larval density between sites and between months. The inshore sheltered site (H3) is significantly different from all other sites in having the highest density with 2824 larvae 1000 m-3, whereas the inshore exposed site had the lowest density of all sites (621 larvae 1000 m-3). Number of species varies significantly among sites. Data of the seasonal and regional occurrence of fish larvae obtained from the present work could be very valuable for the fisheries management. It also gives an idea about how larval stages of reef fish distribute in regard to the reef topography and the distance from the shore.
Mohamed Abu El-Regal